Getting Rid of the Back-To-School Butterflies

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Prepare your child for school

Summer seems to have hardly begun and we’re already staring down back-to-school. Where did the time go? We hope you and your child have had the opportunity to spend time together, enjoy the outdoors, and explore your local library.

The first day of school can be fraught with anxiety for your child, even if he loves school. Here are a few ways to make the transition from summer play to school days easier.

New school or kindergarten? Take a private meet-and-greet tour!

While it’s wonderful that schools and teachers welcome kids and parents for a “before school begins” get-together, that crush of people can be overwhelming for many children. Call your school to explain that your child would like to visit and tour the school privately, before the rush of peers and parents. Point out the bathroom, the library, the gym or playground and her classroom. Introduce her personally to her new teacher, giving her a moment to really connect to this person who will be very important in her life for the next nine months.

Concentrate on the positive.

Remind your child about friends she will make new or see again. Explore what she thinks she’ll learn this year and why that’s exciting for her. Talk about that certain hot lunch she enjoys. Explain that she can visit with former teachers she admires. Reminisce together about a particularly happy school day in the past.

Send them prepared.

Obtain a list of necessary school supplies and collect them at least a week before school begins, so your child knows she has everything she needs to be successful. Studies show that children who are properly equipped have less anxiety, concentrate better and earn better grades.

Make sure your child is getting a nutritious lunch each day, with a protein like chicken or turkey, water or milk instead of juice and a serving of fruit and a serving of vegetables.

If you are under financial strain, call your school’s office and ask where you can access free or deeply discounted supplies and meals.

Be present, even if you’re not there.

Your presence during the day is important, but tread carefully. Notes in lunchboxes should focus on having a fun and successful day, such as “You will ROCK that spelling test” or a short joke. Avoid thoughts like “I miss you” which will make him think about missing you in return.

You’re all in this together.

Explain to your child that most of his classmates are feeling a little nervous right about now too. Tell your child about your own school days butterflies, and then relate a positive story about one of your first days, perhaps how you loved your new school shoes or when you discovered that you were going to learn everything about dinosaurs in third grade.

Be alert.

When your child can’t sleep, even after school has started and is in regular session, when your child’s personality has undergone a change, when she cries easily, begins biting nails or other destructive habits, it’s time to take a closer look. Is there a bullying situation? Is she having trouble comprehending a subject? Ask careful questions about what makes your child happy at school and on the bus and what makes her uncomfortable. If her answers set off alarms, talk to her teacher immediately. The quicker a problem is recognized by adults, the sooner it can be resolved.

Need a Back To School Physical ASAP? Call us at 708-424-7600 to make an appointment!

August 14, 2017 / Child Development
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